Has It Been A Good Year?

‘Tis the season to be MORE than jolly. ‘Tis the season for our annual Business Achievement Awards. This year we are reflecting the Chamber’s “Successful Cities” program to underscore the importance of pursuing the driving principles of a successful city as we enter the new year.

“Successful Cities” are defined as vibrant, convivial, urban settings that promote balanced cultural, economic, environmental, and social visions. These visions prioritize community well‐being and focus on a high quality of life for their citizens. The Chamber led a public process to define a ‘successful city’ and worked to embed these principles into Nanaimo’s official Corporate Strategic Plan as a way of working towards success as a community.

The Chamber’s 2015 Business Achievement Awards will be oriented to the Successful Cities’ five community pillars: the Natural Environment, Cultural Vitality, Economic Development, Social Considerations, and the Built Environment.

Economic Development recognizes longstanding excellence in one business endeavor, while start-ups are honoured in their own category. Social Considerations honour non-profits and institutions that display excellence in program and service delivery to maximize community impact. The other award under this banner focuses on Social Enterprise – an emerging and important business model where the profits of the business support a social agenda.

Businesses operating in Sustainable Tourism or Environmental Sciences & Technology will be eligible to be nominated in each category under the Natural Environment banner. Cultural Vitality will honour Arts & Culture, and a category simply called “Innovation” encompasses social innovation, creative business practices and technology. The Built Environment addresses Design, Architecture and Engineering as a category and Development & Construction on its own merit.

In addition to these ten awards, special recognition will also be given to “Youth Initiatives” an award that goes to an individual nominee under 25, who, through their spirit, enthusiasm and dedication, has made extraordinary contributions to their community.

Nominations are open to the entire business community including Lantzville south to Cedar and Yellow Point. Finalists will be announced in a casual, upbeat ceremony on February 20 with the Gala Awards Evening on March 20. Find more nomination information online at www.nanaimochamber.bc.ca or call the Chamber to see how you can nominate a worthy candidate. Now, back to sugarplums dancing through your head!

Kim Smythe, CEO

December 2014

Celebrations Coming to an End

It’s been a great year in Nanaimo, in fact it’s one of the best we can remember in our 125 year history. We have marked this momentous occasion a number of ways as we took the year to examine our past and plan our way ahead for the future.

We started by rechristening our annual awards program as Nanaimo’s Business Achievement Awards. Thirteen local private and not-for-profit businesses were chosen from a list of 47 finalists to receive acknowledgement in a variety of categories. (Check for the 2015 call for nominations on our website now.)

We published our annual “Gateway” magazine and, rather than use it to simply promote Chamber programs and services, we developed a narrative entitled “Looking Back, Moving Forward” that featured glimpses into Nanaimo’s past and compared how our lives now compared to then – economically, culturally, and socially..

We used our Annual General Meeting as a time to name six new board members and to ‘Celebrate Success Stories’ with Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, Young Professionals of Nanaimo, Community Futures, Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association and Startup Nanaimo.

In May, we debuted “Wine, Women & Song” an experiential trade show focused on those three topics. It was such a winner, that we immediately scheduled it for 2015. Reserve your space now for this entertaining and innovative event. This preceded our annual June Golf Tournament held at the outstanding Nanaimo Golf Club.

In July we accepted the salute of the venerable Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society. It was a privilege to celebrate the 48th annual ‘running of the tubs’ and it motivated us to become more involved in the future of tubbing in Nanaimo.

We welcomed an outstanding Indian summer with the launch of another event – Nanaimo’s Seafood Chowder Festival with our partners “Lucky’s Liquor Store”. In October, our Business Expo demonstrated an eruption of economic energy at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre and received big high-fives from the business community.

But we didn’t just party the year away. We made new strides forward in economic development with Team Nanaimo, excelled at government advocacy taking a lead role in getting out the vote for the civic election, and created two new series of professional development opportunities – Lightning Talks and Spark Sessions.

All in all, we turned it into a year to truly celebrate success. The Chamber thanks you for everything you did to take part in the celebration, and invite you to be part of the success as we enter 2015 and the next 125 years. Cheers!

Kim Smythe, CEO
December 2014

Nanaimo Quarterly Economic Update

Nanaimo Economic Development

Nanaimo Quarterly Economic Update
Q3 2014
A look at the Nanaimo economic conditions, July to September 2014.


(Source: Statistics Canada Labour force survey)

There were 50,100 persons employed in Nanaimo in Sept of 2014, which is up 100 persons from Sept 2013.  In total, 54,400 people were in the labour force in Sept of 2014, compared to 53,700 in Sept of 2013. Small gains in employment were not sufficient enough to make up for the greater number of people entering the labor force, hence the unemployment rate increased to 7.7{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} for Nanaimo.  BC reported an unemployment rate of 6.2{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} and Canada 7.0{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} for Sept 2014.

In BC, full-time jobs increased by 20,600 in Sept, while part-time employment decreased by 11,000.  The increase in full-time employment was distributed among all age groups, with youth aged 15 to 24 posting the largest gains, (+14,600) followed by adults aged 25 to 54 (+5,300).  In contract, the decline in part-time employment was limited to those aged 25 to 54 (-12,800) and youth (-4,300), whereas adults aged 55 years and over (+6,100) saw an increase in part-time employment.  Nationally, the unemployment rate edged down 7.0{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}, due largely to gains in employment.

Residential Real Estate
(Source: Vancouver Island Real Estate Board; Canada Real Estate Association)

In September 2014, the average resale price of a single family home increased by 4{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} ($364,441) compared to September 2013 ($350,701). Homes listed remained virtually the same, while units sold increased by 9{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}. Lots listed for sale were 9{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} above September 2013 levels and sales increased by 158{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}.  Prices for lots increased by 3{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} in the twelve month period between September 2014 and September 2013.  The number of Condo (apt) units listed for sale decreased by 6{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}, while sales increased by 32{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}, and the average price increased by 4{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}.  Patio style condo listings decreased by 20{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} and units sold decreased by 24{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}. Condo (townhouse) listings decreased by 16{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}, and sales decreased by 7{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} while average price increased by 4{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}.
With the exception of a 9{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} increase in lots “listed” for sale, virtually every other category of housing posted declines in “listings” for sale.   Units “sold” reported increases in the lots, single family and Condo (apt.) category, while sales were down in the Condo (patio) and Condo (town) categories.  Prices increased in every category with the exception of Condo (patio) where they remained virtually the same. (note: all statistics are an average of 12 months-to-date)

Housing Construction
(Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, latest data available)

There were 157 housing starts in Nanaimo in the second quarter of 2014, which is an increase of 58.6{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} from the same quarter in 2013. In the second quarter of 2014, 77{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} more single family homes were built compared to second quarter 2013.  Semi and row housing remained identical in the second quarter comparisons while Apartment and other type increased by 41{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}.

In 2013, 205 single family dwellings were built and 210 were multiple dwellings.  In 2014, the single family housing construction is predicted to increase by 41.5{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} (290 units) and multiple dwellings to increase by 23.8{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} (260 Units).  Overall new housing construction in 2014 is estimated to increase by 32.5{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} over 2013 levels.  The forecast for 2015 is 260 single family homes and 315 for multiple units.  This will be an increase of 4.5{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} over 2014 levels.

Housing starts for BC are forecast to total 27,800 units in 2014 and 27,900 units in 2015, with a slight shift toward single-detached housing starts as the economy and labour market gain traction.

Rental Market
(Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Average rents increased in every category for both private apartments and row housing types. Vacancy rates decreased in each category in the spring of 2014 compared to spring of 2013.  Overall vacancy rates decreased by 3 percentage points for private apartment types and by 2.3 percentage points for private row (townhouse) type.  The largest increase in average rent was for bachelor type accommodation (3.2{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}) for private row (townhouse) and private apartment type of housing.  The largest drop in vacancies was for 3+ bedroom private apartment housing.
The number of total apartment units available for rent increased from 3,343 to 3,527 as did the number of row housing units from 3,563 to 3,744.
The most recent Census (2011) indicated that 26{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} of Nanaimo residents rent the dwelling they live in, while 74{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} own their home.

(Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

The rental vacancy rate declined from 8.3{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} in the spring of 2013 to 5.3{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} in the spring of 2014.  No change in vacancy rate from fall 2013 to spring 2014.

Building Permits
(Source: City of Nanaimo)

The City of Nanaimo issued 286 building permits valued at $48.9 million in the third quarter of 2014. The value of permits issued decreased by $36.6 million in the third quarter 2014 from second quarter 2014. In comparison to third quarter 2013 building permit values in third quarter 2014 increased by 63{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}.

77{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} of the building permit value in Q3 2014 is for residential construction.  18{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} of total value was for commercial projects, followed by 3{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} for Public permits.  Industrial and miscellaneous permits accounted for less than 2{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} of the total permit values.  In Q3 2013, residential projects accounted for 58.21{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} of total building permit values followed by 26.91{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} for commercial units.

Year to date (YTD) building permit values increased in most categories leading to an overall increase of 117{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} by end of September 2014 compared to September 2013.  YTD 2014 residential values are up 136{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} and commercial values 87{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} over 2013 levels.  In 2014, 56{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} of the building permit values are for residential build, followed by 30{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} commercial build, public accounted for 9{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} and Industrial approximately 4{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9}.

Business Licenses
(Source: City of Nanaimo)

Business Licenses
In the third quarter of 2014, 147 new businesses obtained a City of Nanaimo business license. This is a 12{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} decline from the same quarter in 2013.  The City approved 170 new licenses in the second quarter of 2014 brining the YTD total to 499.

Tourism Indicators/Passenger Volumes
(Source: Nanaimo Airport)

77,746 passengers moved through the Nanaimo Airport in the third quarter of 2014.   This is an increase of 6{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} passengers from the same time period in 2013. Overall traffic through the Vancouver International Airport was up 9.2{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} by end of August 2014 compared to August 2013. Year-to-date passenger traffic through the airport is 21{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} higher in 2014 compared to one year ago.

(Source: BC Ferries Corporation)

The amount of vehicle traffic between Departure Bay and Horshoe Bay declined by 1.4{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} (-5,829 vehicles) in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013.  Passenger volumes also decreased 1.05{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} (-12,755) on this route.  Vehicle traffic between Tsawwassen and Duke Point increased by 2.6{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} (+5,408 vehicles) in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013.  Passenger volumes increased by 3.1{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} on this route (+15,724).

(Source: Chemistry Consulting Group, Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Tourism Nanaimo)

Average occupancy reported by the accommodation sector was 8.41{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} higher in September 2014 compared to September 2013.  Average daily room rates dropped by $4.47 year-over-year during the month of September.  Overall, the revenue available per room increased by $6.56 in September due to higher occupancy rates.  Average occupancy is up by 3.26{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} in the first nine months of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.  Nanaimo’s room rates have dropped by $5.41, but overall revenue available per room has increased by $0.46 mainly due to higher occupancy rates.
The number of visitors coming into Tourism Information centers’ to obtain information on the region saw an increase of 23.17{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} in the third quarter of 2014 over third quarter 2013.  Overall numbers by September 2014 are 8.41{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} above those compared with 2013.  The Vancouver Island Conference delegate days for the first three quarters of 2014 are 51.15{3236bfe566a0d68e2245ffbb9d220fc7554709fab7d664768e3da2edc73a1bc9} above those for 2013.